Finding the Light in the Post Nov. 2 Darkness; Out of the Chaos, hope is emerging at multiple fractal levels.
by ROB KALL
A few weeks ago, as an owner/operator of several websites, I was invited to participate in a meeting to discuss the creation of a community website that would replace the county website for Kerry. The BucksforKerry.com website was obsolete, so we wanted to build a new website that would maintain the communication, the events calendar, the links --and as we held that discussion, I realized that this was a situation that had to be happening all over the country.
Last night, I went to the county democratic meeting last night and had a DejÃ vu experience. This felt the same as the website planning meeting, like something that must be happening all over the USA .. As I 'd expected, this first meeting since the election had a huge response. They had to move it to a bigger room than usual and even then, people were sitting on the floor and overflowing out into the halls.
The county chairman announced that for the first time in as long as he could remember, there was a surplus -- about $50,000 --in the treasury. And the number of committee people and other county "staffers " had risen from 300, two years ago, at the end of the last election cycle, to over 500 now, plus, we have over 1000 volunteers.
The county leadership were happy. They invited all of the new volunteers and committee people to volunteer for committees. They opened up some seats to all that were previously only accessible by committee people and other elected officials. But they did NOT acknowledge that it was a new political world --that the Deaniacs and Moveon.org and meet-ups and internet fundraising and the progressive media and listserve groups, viral email forwarding, the blogiverse all played a major role in the elections, in activism, in fund-raising, in changing the nature of politics.
I 'm not complaining about the leaders of my county, well not trying to be negative. It 's just that, since the world has changed so much, it is essential that the leadership in my county, and I assume the same is true throughout the USA, must bring in new leaders who have their fingers on the pulse of the new politics, who understand the power and potential of the new internet technologies.
As I looked around the room, noticing some people wearing suits and ties, wondering (and, in some cases, knowing) if they were political candidate hopefuls, and loads of people sitting cross-legged on the floor, including the ones I 'd gotten to know by working with them, joining with them at meet-ups and neighborhood Democratic meetings, I realized that we were there not just for activism but also for community.
I 've already been meeting one evening a week at a local bar/restaurant, with about 15 or 20 other regulars who were part of our Run-against-Bush group. Tonight I 'll be going to the first neighborhood Democratic meeting. This election, and the run up to war, with all the protests before it, had energized more than just a bunch of protesters. It energized, catalyzed and built a community --a progressive community that is not going to disappear into the night, like the DNC and the Kerry campaign seems to have done. Even some of the most passionate, energetic paid employees of the Kerry team are sticking around, and being supported by the community. This is all something worth keeping, worth building upon as a base, a next step toward a stronger future for progressives ... and probably for democrats too. I say probably democrats because the people who got behind Kerry included greens, independents, some libertarians and literally, in our county, 15 percent of Republicans. And let 's not forget the democrats and others who were brought into the activism process, not by the democratic party, but rather, by moveon.org , Howard Dean 's Democracy For America, America Coming Together,
The democrats have an opportunity, as the holders of the biggest "tent " to build a new community that could grow and become an incredibly powerful force in coming elections. It won 't be a fundraising organ. It won 't be a voter-registration organ or a grassroots organ. It will be more of a living organism with all of those organs, but so much more. It will have a heart and a soul that holds events that do not aim to raise money. It will take the Democractic party to the next evolutional level --and while this community, with it 's heart and soul is developing, at a local level in cities, counties, towns, townships and boroughs throughout the nation, it will continue to evolve, to morph into something or things that we don 't yet know or expect.
In chaos theory, fractal phenomenon occur at different levels. You can look at the geometric shape of the edge of a pool of water, or a short, twenty foot stretch of riverside, then look at a map from 25,000 miles above the earth, and you 'll see similar patterns. These fractal patterns enable scientists to see order where, in the past, only chaos was describable. It seems to me that there will be fractal phenomena occurring in the political world too. The need for community at a local, borough or municipal level, for new websites, events, listserves and integration of the new people who have entered the political realm is mirrored at higher fractal levels of state and nation, and what the heck, why not even internationally, for surely, there are hundreds of millions, if not billions of kindred spirits in other nations.
And it works the other way with fractal phenomena. The macro level organizations can also be replicated or observed at smaller fractal levels. Last night, I realized that just as the right wing has big think tanks that support nationally prominent, out of office leaders (people who lost elections and their advisors) we on the left need similar institutions, not only at a national level, but also at a local level, for folks like Brent and Emily, young, bright, shining stars in their early and mid twenties who offer so much promise for our future.
Yes, the loss or theft of the presidential election is enormously disheartening, as is the loss of seats in the senate and house. But we must go on, and we must find the good, the light in the darkness that followed the November 2nd. WE-- you, me, all of us who fought the fight --are a big part of the light. Now we must get down to the hard work of consolidating and building upon the good that has come out of our emergence as a new force to be dealt with. Will the democratic party take the leadership reins? Will the Greens, or America Coming Together, or Democracy for America or Moveon.org? Will they work together or splinter the energy? Let 's hope the problem will be sorting out WHO will lead, and how they will work together, not IF the leadership will emerge.
The light is not yet out. The nation's political consciousness and awareness is at a higher level than perhaps any previous time. The opportunity for each individual to make a difference has never been greater. We have much to learn and much to do. We must assess and understand our newfound strength and power and then we must acquire, build, create and develop the tools we need to make the most effective use of our power. The easterners say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. We've just started taking our first steps. But the journey has clearly begun. Now, the trick will be to persevere on the journey. It will be easier traveling as a community, consisting of neighbors... some you can walk to and some just an e-mail away. Either way, we're doing it together.
Rob Kall email@example.com is editor of www.OpEdNews.com Read over 150 of his articles at Rob Kall's article archive Read his blog at www.opednews.com/robsblog.htm Rob lives in Bucks County PA, which, went for John Kerry in the 2004 election. Some of Rob's other websites include www.futurehealth.org www.storycon.org www.positivepsychology.net www.quotationscentral.com and www.sphincterpolice.com
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